Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Price drops dampen harvest optimism

06:00 28 July 2014

Combine harvester collecting the wheat

Combine harvester collecting the wheat

(c) copyright citizenside.com

Falling commodity prices have put a dampener on high hopes for this year’s harvest in East Anglia.

While the picture is mixed and some crop yields haven’t fulfilled all of their early promise, farmers are pinning their hopes on a good wheat harvest.

Many will start to bring the crop in over the next days and weeks knowing that higher input prices and lower crop prices will squeeze their margins.

Farmer John Collen, of Gisleham, near Lowestoft, estimated that it cost about £140 to produce a tonne of wheat in today’s terms, against a backdrop of its current market value of about £120. Farm subsidies offset that by about £20 a tonne, bringing the crop to break-even point. He is looking for a higher than average yield, or about 4 tonnes an acre to enable him to achieve a healthy margin.

But as farmers have the option to keep the crop until the price gets better, it’s possible he’ll get a better return by ‘playing the market’.

“It’s a very open and transparent market. It’s very fluid, and it goes up as well as down. Basically, we now have 12 months to trade the crop we harvest. So if we are lucky we might be able to trade ourselves into a higher price,” he said.

Factors such as the southern hemisphere harvest, six months behind the northern hemisphere one, would affect where the price goes and remains the big unknown, he said.

The revival of fortunes in the general economy could mark the end of a good spell for farmers in which crop prices have stayed high, he predicted.

“Unfortunately farmers do well in a recession and not so well when the rest of the economy is doing well,” he said. “Having had five or six years where profits have been reasonable, we are in an industry which has taken the good with the bad,” he said. “This will be one of the thinner years.”

While he was hopeful for his wheat crop, which was looking “very well”, it would be impossible to give an accurate prediction of yields until the harvest , which he will start within the next week or so, is in. His oilseed rape crop had performed to expectations, he said, although prices were down from about £350 to £375 a tonne last year to about £250 a tonne this year.

Meanwhile, Bill Baker, of Drinkstone, near Bury St Edmunds, said his oilseed rape crop yield had been good at about four and a quarter tonnes per acre, but not as good as he had hoped. “I thought it would be a record-breaking year, but it wasn’t,” he admitted.

His wheat crop, still out in the field, looked “full of promise”, he said.

However, there had been a “fair drop” in the price, and there was no guarantee it wouldn’t keep dropping, he said.

With blackgrass issues and disease to stave off such as septoria, a fungal disease, input costs were an issue, he said.

“We seem to be throwing more and more at these crops so when there is a tightening of the margins it gets painful,” he said.

But he felt optimistic on the yields front.

“It’s always good to fill the barns up and know you have got a good yield and you have done the best you possibly can. Of course, as a businessman, it’s all about the bottom line as well. We’ll hopefully be rewarded with a good yield and a barn full of commodities to sell.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Gnr Brendan Williams Marks Tey

The commanding officer of a 21-year-old serviceman killed in a crash on the A120 in Marks Tey on Saturday has paid tribute to his “strength of character and popularity.”

Police are investigating the break-ins

Police have launched an investigation into a string of 26 burglaries in the last two weeks across west Suffolk in which cash, jewellery and electrical items have been stolen.

The Woodbridge Kitchen Company is the winner of the annual Christmas window competition. Left to right: Terry Hunt,  Mayor Stephen Atwell, Kirsteen Torrance, Lydia Hall, Scott Matheson-Barr, Una Mitchell and Geoff Holdcroft.

The award for a Suffolk town’s ‘best dressed Christmas window’ made a short journey across the street after changing hands for the first time in two years.

Fatal accident just outside the village of Hitcham on the B1115.

A 50-year-old man from east London who was arrested in connection with a fatal road crash in Hitcham last week has been bailed.

The river Stour winds through Manningtree

AERIAL  AERIALS

EADT 16 8 03

A host of groups and organisations came together to test plans to deal with a major maritime incident in the River Stour.

Thoroughfare resident Christine Speer (left) and Woodbridge town councillor Patrick Gillard (second right) help  Thoroughfare Working Group members Julian Royle (second left), Caroline Page and Eamonn O’Nolan to raise awareness of parking and driving restrictions in advance of last Sunday's Christmas Street Market

A cross-party group hit the streets to find agreement for a plan to improve traffic and parking in a Suffolk town’s main shopping street.

Irving has been remanded in custody

A man from Colchester has been charged in connection with the stabbing of two men.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24